Bookshelf: Kristin Harmel headlines inaugural Johns Creek Book Fair

Plus Townsend Prize has a new co-owner and Terry Kay is honored by Georgia Writers Museum.
Kristin Harmel, author of "The Paris Daughter,' will be the keynote speaker at the inaugural Johns Creek Book Fair on Oct. 1. Courtesy of Gallery Books

Credit: Gallery Books

Combined ShapeCaption
Kristin Harmel, author of "The Paris Daughter,' will be the keynote speaker at the inaugural Johns Creek Book Fair on Oct. 1. Courtesy of Gallery Books

Credit: Gallery Books

Credit: Gallery Books

With the Decatur Book Festival on hold this fall, book lovers are looking for ways to fill the void, and the town of Johns Creek has come up with one solution. The city is hosting its inaugural Johns Creek Literary Fair on Oct. 1.

The keynote speaker is Kristin Harmel, author of “The Paris Daughter” (Gallery Books, $28.99), about a mother’s frantic search for her young daughter amid the rubble of post-WWII Paris and across the pond in New York.

The afternoon event begins with a program called Speed Dating in which 20 local authors have two minutes each to plug their books. Following Harmel’s talk, there will be a panel discussion on Southern Storytelling featuring five authors: Terah Shelton Harris (“Savannah Sisters”), Susan Zurenda (“The Girl From the Red Rose Motel”), Kristen Ness (“At Loggerheads”), Soniah Kamal (“Unmarriageable”) and Zoe Fishman (“The Fun Widow’s Book Tour”). They will be in conversation with Emily Carpenter, author of “Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters.”

George Weinstein, executive director of the Atlanta Writers Club, will be master of ceremonies, and there will be children’s activities, plus food and drink for sale.

The event is free and takes place noon-5 p.m. at Mark Burkhalter Amphitheater at Newtown Park on Old Alabama Road in Alpharetta. For details go to

Johns Creek isn’t the only North Fulton community to introduce a new literary program.

As previously announced here, Roswell Reads brings in author William Kent Krueger to discuss his new novel, “The River We Remember (Atria, $28.99), a murder mystery set in 1958 Minnesota, on Sept. 29. The following day he leads a writing workshop. For details on the ticketed events, go to

Now a second author has been announced. Author Tracey Enerson Wood will appear at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center at 6 p.m. Sept. 12 to discuss her new book, “The President’s Wife” (Sourcebooks Landmark, $28.99), an historical novel about Woodrow Wilson’s wife, Edith Bolling Wilson. Admission is free.

Roswell Reads is presented in partnership with Friends of the Roswell Library, Roswell Cultural Arts and Bookmiser.

Perfect partnership. When the Chattahoochee Review was shuttered in 2020, the Townsend Prize for Fiction found itself without a home. The following year, the Atlanta Writers Club took over managing the prestigious award bestowed on a Georgia author every two years. And now that organization has a partner in its duties: the Georgia Writers Museum.

The two organizations are now billed as co-owners of the prize.

Speaking of the Georgia Writers Museum, the Eatonton organization installed a new exhibition last month dedicated to Terry Kay, a recipient of the Townsend Prize, as well as the Governor’s Award for the Humanities. Kay, who died in 2020, was the author of dozens of books, most notably “To Dance with the White Dog,” which sold millions and was made into a feature film.

The exhibition “Turning Pages: The Story of Terry Kay” features displays of photographs, books, awards, news clippings and personal effects that chronicle his life, beginning with his days at Royston High School and spanning careers in the theater, as a journalist and as a beloved author.

Located in Eatonton, the Georgia Writers Museum is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and by appointment. For details go to

Credit: Berkley

Credit: Berkley

Happy pub day: It’s no secret that former state legislator and gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is also a New York Times bestselling author of fiction, thanks to her legal thrillers “While Justice Sleeps” (2021) and “Rogue Justice” (2023). But long before she was writing books under her own name, she was writing romantic suspense novels under the name Selena Montgomery — eight of them, in fact. Berkley has begun reissuing them in hardback with new covers, and next up is “The Art of Desire” (Berkley, $28), which publishes on Sept. 5.

Originally published in 2002, “The Art of Desire” pairs Alex Walton, an aspiring writer who has sworn off men after her last failed lover affair, with Phillip Turman, who is trying to rebuild his life after spending three years captive inside a terrorist organization. Sparks fly at hello, but Phillip’s past soon catches up with him and places Alex in the crosshairs.

Suzanne Van Atten is a book critic and contributing editor to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. You can contact her at

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